Rorschach tests are designed to expose the predispositions of our unconscious minds. Submitting a story for an anthology might do the same thing. Rhonda Parrish asked writers to compose a tale, utilizing the concept of Sirens – the enchanting songstresses who woo men to their death. The stories, which were selected for the anthology Sirens, include as many different embodiments of these magical creatures as there are descriptions of ink blobs. The variety and creativity displayed in the collection speaks to the individuality of these writers, and reminds the reader that while we are all different, there is something beautifully human in the ability to build a complex construction from a simple idea.
Apparently, in the 21st century a non-practicing Siren can sign up for a dating service. Of course, it’s difficult to keep her dates from falling in love with her! And some Sirens move as a collective “we,” not having individual personalities in the way humans do. Sometimes, the gods thwart these singing demi-gods and they become the victims of obsession instead of the instigators.
As we travel through Parrish’s carefully cultivated paths we discover links between Sirens, dolphins, and shipwrecked boys. A Siren’s call can come through the voice of a radio announcer or artificially made intelligence. Some of the otherworldly beings show compassion and some are as pointedly evil as their razor-edged teeth.
If you see one of the winged creatures while you are tripping on an illicit drug, is what you see a glimpse into a world that exists between the conscious and unconscious mind, a place where Sirens still live? Can you be seduced to live in the sea, even when the fabricated body in a virtual reality resort informs your sense experience? And, did Penelope, Odysseus’s wife, tap into her non-human powers to orchestrate her future rather than sit idly by as men shaped it for her?
In Sirens one discovers light and darkness, humor and deadly severity. Females prevail. Men prevail. No one prevails. While reading, you may laugh, ponder, or shudder. But, without a doubt, you will admire the contrasting assortment of Parrish’s contributors. You might even be inspired to conduct the Sirens Rorschach test on yourself. What kind of Siren would you create?